Web links related to the Back of the Book program of February 28, 2005

It's Sunday evening 3/13/2005 18:42:44 and this page is done. There's some sadness going on with me these days over various losses. We got to the below topics and some mail on this program.

The WBAI Local Station Board (LSB) will meet next on Wednesday March 9, 2005, venue to be determined. Public comment will be welcome during the meeting.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of almost every WBAI LSB meeting so far? Well, I do. And I'll be updating it soon.

WBAI has a program schedule up on its Web site. The site has gotten many of the individual program pages together to provide links and such, so check it out.

Our colleagues from Off the Hook now have both a RealAudio streaming web cast operating, and a new MP3 stream. The MP3 feed is now the preferred feed. Both were operating at 8:59 PM last night.

The Pacifica Foundation, which owns WBAI, has revamped its Web site and now has something called the Pacifica Lounge where you can post messages about Pacifica, WBAI and other Pacifica radio stations. This may be a good thing, and of course there are other, long term fora in which to participate.

WBAI also has a forum on its Web site now. You have to register to post messages, but anyone may read the messages.

A number of people have died this past fortnight, including WBAI producer Joel Greenberg and my Uncle Larry. We spoke about all of this on the air a bit.

Humanity may be 195,000 years old. That's quite a bit further back than fossil evidence has placed it before, but it fits right in with DNA evidence.

Speaking of ancient life, relatively high concentrations of methane gas have been found above what some scientists think may be a set of fossil ice floes frozen in place on a shallow sea on Mars. Fresh methane could be an indicator of microbial life. Or it could be the result of geochemical processes inside the planet.

And speaking of outer space, there was one mighty big boom that went off last December. This blast overloaded some scientific instruments on board Earth orbiting satellites — from 50,000 light years away! The event liberated more energy in two tenths of a second (0.2 seconds) than the Sun gives off in a period of more than 100,000 years. You can find out more about magnetars here.

The Mistakes we Make

Unfortunately, I've discovered that I've lost that 1898, book named The Mistakes we Make edited by Nathan Haskell Dole. I've been reading bits from it for a while now and have several pages of notes relating to it, but I've lost the book, so I don't think we'll be doing any segments on it from now on.

I appear to have left the book at WBAI after one of the programs in January. Unfortunately, no one has turned it in and no one has said they've even seen it around. I'll keep my notes in case it, or another copy, turns up in the future.

The really odd thing is that this loss, discovered as a surprise, has exacerbated feelings about the loss of my uncle. Funny how the human mind works. You're braced for one thing, and when it happens you can handle it well, but then something unexpected happens and triggers another feeling of loss and this completely subverts the resolve you had regarding something far more serious.

And we did get to some of your mail on this program. We start with a distinction for Virginia that not everyone is pleased with.

Subject: Fwd: EV News: Virginia's New #1 Ranking: Most Anti-Gay State in Nation?
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2005 20:38:04 -0800 (PST)
From: Susan From VA
To: "R. Paul Martin" rpm@glib.com

Catchy subject heading!

But, I disagree with Equality Virginia's analysis. I work in those Southwest and Southside counties. Our biggest problems are traffic congestion and gay/lesbian marriage running a very close second.
Susan From VA

--- Equality Virginia wrote:

> Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2005 09:17:40 -0800
> Subject: EV News: Virginia's New #1 Ranking:
> Most Anti-Gay State in Nation?
> From: "Equality Virginia"
Virginia's New #1 Ranking: Most Anti-Gay State in Nation?

(Richmond, Virginia) Virginia moved farther along the path to becoming the most anti-gay state in the nation as the 2005 General Assembly arrived at the mid-point of the legislative session.

Proposals to constitutionalize a ban on same sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships have powered through both houses of the legislature on lop-sided votes. Other legislation that would have made Virginia only the second state to prohibit “homosexuals” from adopting children and directed local school officials to ban student organizations that provide support to gay and lesbian teens have been modified in the legislative process but are still under consideration.

“Virginia has real problems to fix, like growing traffic congestion, the health care crisis, job losses in Southwest and Southside Virginia and underperforming schools.It's shameful that our legislators have spent their time this session fiddling with the constitution, and otherwise being quite creative in attempting to deny tax-paying gay and lesbian Virginians equal protection under the law.This is the worst case of #8216;piling on' seen in decades,” said Dyana Mason, Equality Virginia Executive Director. “It's obvious that our opponents feel threatened by the progress made towards equality in recent years, here and around the country.”

Virginia has had a law banning same sex marriage since 1986, which has been strengthened twice since, most recently with the passage of HB 751 passed just last year. There has never been a case in which Virginia's definition of marriage has been challenged. Despite this fact, legislative sponsors argue that there is an urgent need to act to change the constitution to protect Virginia's definition of marriage from some unspecified threat posed by judges in Massachusetts and California.

“This argument shows how little moral force there is behind the arguments of marriage amendment proponents. The reality is that any threat to Virginia's definition of marriage is posed, not by unknown rogue judges or gay and lesbian Virginians seeking to forge recognized, committed relationships, but by other factors, such as poverty, lack of commitment to stated religious and moral vows, and the divorce rate,” said Equality Virginia Board Chair, Joseph R. Price.

Prior to the start of the session, Equality Virginia hired a professional lobbyist, started organizing grassroots Community Action Teams in districts across the state, and organized the largest ever gay and lesbian Lobby Day attended by over 250 volunteer activists. The growing strength of Equality Virginia and its supporters has already had an impact this session and is reflected in the changes made to moderate the proposed adoption and Gay Straight Alliance bills.

Equality Virginia and allied groups are also currently organizing a set of community meetings statewide to update our members and supporters on the actions taken by the General Assembly, and encourage them to get involved.

“We will continue to bring to bear on the legislative process the collective power of Equality Virginia and our allies, Virginians of reason and faith, who oppose discrimination in all of its forms,” said David Lampo, Chair of the Political Committee of Equality Virginia.


Things apparently worked out a bit better than the above, I gather from this more recent press release.

Subject: ...and they're still pitching!
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 14:48:18 EST
From: Seth
To: rpm@glib.com

Thursday afternoon

Dear R. Paul,

I just tuned into WBAI--and they're STILL pitching!!

Is the marathon continuing though the weekend?---and, if so, do you need anyone on the phones??

Regards to P.O.T.N.


Luckily, the extended 'thon didn't extend to the overnight programs. Seth helped out on the phones at the last 'thon, as he very frequently does for us.

The extended 'thons, this one went on for 27 days and just missed making its goal, are an area of contention at WBAI these days. Some feel that it's just fine to be pitching for one quarter of the time, as we did in Fiscal Year 2004, but some think that much pitching is detrimental to the radio station. I'm of the latter opinion.

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to talk about on the air at WBAI, even now that the gag rule has been lifted. However, there is the Internet! There are mailing lists which you can subscribe to and Web based message boards devoted to WBAI and Pacifica issues. Many controversial WBAI/Pacifica issues are discussed on these lists.

Probably the most popular list that's sprung up is the “NewPacifica” mailing list. This one is very lively and currently includes over 400 subscribers coast to coast.

Being lively, of course, it sometimes also gets a bit nasty. All sorts of things are happening on this list and official announcements are frequently posted there.

You can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too. If you subscribe to the “NewPacifica” mailing list you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list.

There is the option to receive a “digest” version of the list, which means that a bunch of messages are bundled into one E-mail and sent to you at regular intervals, this cuts down on the number of E-mails you get from the list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.

This list also has a Web based interface where you can read messages and from which you can post your own messages.

There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. It is sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as “the bleepin' blue board,” owing to the blue background used on its Web pages. This one has many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary “WBAI people” board that's just totally out of hand.

When the computer in Master Control is working we sometimes have live interaction with people posting on the “Goodlight Board” during the program.

And then there is the historic “Free Pacifica!” list, which has been used to help organize resistance to Pacifica Management hijackers since the mid-90s. It's become a low volume mailing list because it's been eclipsed by some of the newer, more technologically advanced, lists. Just click on this link and follow the instructions, and you'll be subscribed. This is a mailing list only, it doesn't have a digest option nor does it have a web interface.

My voice mail number at WBAI is 212-209-2996. Leave a message.

You can also send me E-mail.

WBAI related links

Free Pacifica Web site

WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site

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The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2005, R. Paul Martin.